News coming from the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC), where pubic service unions and the government have been sitting around the table to consider chiefly public service salaries are not encouraging at all. It has been almost two months - just two weeks before Independence - since the PSBC started.To date there is still nothing to write home about.
Literally, government is refusing to come to the negotiating table, leaving the public service unions and most importantly the more than 100,000 public service workers, a frustrated lot once again. A frustrated public service, especially a very large public service such as ours, can spell disaster for a country, for the economy, for the government of the day and even for the ruling Party. It seems the lessons of the past have no meaning. They have not taught anyone, especially in government any wisdom.
It is this seemingly arrogant attitude of government when dealing with public service unions that cost the economy undisclosed billions in 2011 when the public service unions went into a protracted three-months strike whose reverberations were felt at the 2014 polls, where the ruling party was heavily bruised. One
Interestingly, some of these attitudes exhibited during the PSBC are tantamount to violations of established statutes and the rule of law by a government that is supposed to pride itself in the upholding of its statutes. By law, government is required to come to the bargaining table not just to appear and fold arms, but to negotiate with honesty, whole-heartedly and with the interests of the nation, in this case, the same government’s own workforce, at heart. Creating a bad impression as government and employer, can have undesirable consequences.